K-1 Hero's 5
What do I know about this event?
Not too much. When I was looking at the back of the DVD's box while shopping at Toudoukan I knew I had at least seen the main event before. If I'm honest I got confused and bought the wrong DVD so most of these fights are new to me. Hooray!
For those who are unaware, Hero's was the brand K-1 used to promote MMA events. This particular event took place on May 3, 2006 and according to Wikipedia was at the Yoyogi National Gymnasium in Tokyo.
Here's what the opening told me:
To lead us into the event a group of CG (military?) helicopters are coming for the K-1 headquarters, or something. Next is a scene of Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva warming up in the back. His opponent, Tom Erikson, is also seen warming up. What a coincidence! That brings us to the first fight on the DVD.
Antonio Silva vs Tom Erikson
First the introductions. Oh, and it should be noted that that are two five minute rounds in Hero's. It did not do the 10 minute opening round thing that Pride did. The round starts and Erikson lands the first blow. He goes for a take down but is stuffed by Silva. They clinch and the referee demands action a few times before breaking them up. Take down by Silva. He is landing strikes from Erikson's half guard. Lots of strikes! The referee is asking Erikson if he gives up! We have our winner and it is Antonio Silva by TKO at 2:49 of round one!
After the match we get some backstage footage and Silva looks happy with his win. Erikson looks a little put out. Not a spectacular fight but it wasn't boring or anything. A solid outing by Antonio Silva!
Where Are They Now: Antonio Silva
According to my Wikipedia and Sherdog research this was fight six of Silva's seven fight win streak to start his career. Following his stint with Hero's he would go on to fight for organizations such EliteXC, Strikeforce, and the UFC. His biggest MMA fights include his TKO win over Fedor Emelianenko, a KO win over Alistair Overeem, and a draw with Mark Hunt in one of the most exciting heavyweight fights ever. Most recently he fought a bare knuckle boxing fight against Gabriel Gonzaga losing by KO.
Where Are They Now: Tom Erikson
Erikson's lone Hero's bout came after a solid run with Pride FC that saw him go 3-2 in that promotion. His final MMA fight was a KO loss on August 1, 2008 at Strike FC 2 against Alexandru Lungu. He is currently the head wrestling coach at Lyon College in Arkansas.
Akebono vs Don Frye
Before the fight begins we are shown short previews with both Frye and Akebono. Frye says that if they don't have the most exciting fight of the night they will at least make a highlight reel for K-1. They come out swinging to begin the fight and Frye gets the best of the exchange. Akebono is trying to put his weight on his opponent but the referee breaks them up. More fighting in the corner. A relatively uneventful round ends.
Frye is starting to land in the middle of the ring and Akebono pushes him to the ropes. There is a referee break followed by more clinching and another referee break. Akebono is chopped down to the mat by Don Frye's leg kicks. Frye gets him in a guillotine and finds the tap! Your winner is Don Frye by guillotine at 3:50 of round two.
Not a great fight. Akebono's strategy of putting his weight on his opponent to tire them out wasn't especially crowd pleasing. However Don Frye got the finish in the end! Following the match we get footage of an emotional Don Frye.
Where Are They Now: Don Frye
Let's pull up the ol' Sherdog. Frye's final MMA fight was against Ruben Villareal on December 11, 2011 where he lost by KO. After a long and storied career he was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame on July 10, 2016.
Where Are They Now: Akebono
After his career as a sumo wrestling legend Akebono's foray in mixed martial arts did not go the same way. With an 0-4 record he did not have impressed many with his skills. Although his first meeting in kickboxing with Bob Sapp was one of the most watched fights in television history. So that's something.
Ivan Menjivar vs Taiyo Nakahara
The preview for this fight shows the fighters getting used to the ring, and after the introductions we are off! They touch gloves and Nakahara throws a high kick. Some feeling out here with cautious strikes being thrown. A small cut opens up on Nakahara. Menjivar caches a kick and sweeps out the leg of his opponent to end the round.
A errant kick from Menjivar hits Nakahara in the groin early, but the fight is restarted quickly. Menjivar is definitely landing more. Good knee to the head. Nakahara is letting the fight slip away with Menjivar controlling the action. They check the cut on Nakahara. Menjivar is still landing the better shots and the fight ends. A decision is given and it is a unanimous one for Ivan Menjivar. He proceeds to do some flips.
An OK fight. Not a lot of action but effort was shown by both men.
Where Are They Now: Ivan Menjivar
Menjivar is a pioneer of Canadian MMA and his last bout was a decision loss to Hatsu Hioki on March 1, 2014. I'm not sure what he is up to nowadays, but hopefully he is doing well.
Where Are They Now: Taiyo Nakahara
As for Nakahara I think he is the first person on this card whose latest bout (as of May, 2020) ended in a victory!
Ryuki Ueyama vs Rani Yahya
We get a preview of the fighters, both of whom seem like fine young men. During the introductions Ueyama seems very enthusiastic! Yahya gets the take down to start the match and works his way to side control. He works his way on to the back of Ueyama, but loses the position and Yahya is on the bottom now. After a scramble Yahya attempts to secure an anaconda and the Japanese commentary is very excited by this. Ueyama gets his back taken again but reverses the position and is hopping around when the bell rings to signal the end of the round. Fun fight so far!
Yahya is shoved to the ground to begin round two and the crowd starts a small Ueyama chant. Ueyama goes for an americana near the ropes but is unable to finish. A less exciting round so far as Yahya is content to work from the bottom. Yahya goes for an armbar but loses it and the fight ends. The result is a majority decision for Rani Yahya!
First round good, second round meh. I think this was part of the first round of a middle weight tournament.
Where Are They Now: Ryuki Ueyama
Ryuki Ueyama's last MMA fight was a unanimous decision loss to Sho Kogane on June 12, 2016.
Where Are They Now: Rani Yahya
Rani Yahya continues to compete in MMA for the UFC and his last fight was a draw with Enrique Barzola on March 14, 2020.
Hidetaka Monma vs JZ Cavalcante
This match is also part of their middle weight tournament. Big cheers for the Japanese fighter. A quick front kick knock down for Cavalcante starts the bout. Cavalcante ends up on top after a grappling exchange. Cavalcante gets out of Monma's guard and lands some heavy shots for the win at 2:08 of the first round.
Cavalcante is very excited backstage. It was certainly not a back and forth affair but some good action.
Where Are They Now: Hidetaka Monma
Monma's last fight was a TKO loss to Ken Hamamura at Deep 66 on April 29, 2014. There is a shoot style pro wrestling match where he faces Katsuyori Shibata that can be found online.
Where Are They Now: JZ Cavalcante
Cavalcante's last fight was a KO loss to Erivan Pereira Silva on April 13, 2018. He continues to compete in grappling competitions.
Hideo Tokoro vs Kultar Gill
This is another of the middle weight tournament bouts. After some scenes of the fighters warming up we are ready to start. Some feeling out to begin the match. Gill times a huge head kick and Tokoro is out! Your winner at 43 seconds of round one is Kultar Gill!
A quick one! This was a relatively spectacular knockout. Backstage, Gill is quite enthused with his win. Tokoro is shown outside receiving support from his fans.
Where Are They Now: Kultar Gill
Kultar Gill's last fight was a triangle choke win over Anthony Ruiz on March 8, 2019.
Where Are They Now: Hideo Tokoro
Tokoro would go on to fight people such as Masakazu Imanari and Kron Gracie. His last MMA bout was a KO loss to Kyoji Horiguchi on July 30, 2017.
Caol Uno vs Ole Laursen
A short preview of the competitors is shown and then it's time for the introductions! It should be noted that this is also a opening round bout in the middle weight tournament. Laursen is taken down less than a minute in. Uno is in Laursen's guard but the position gets reversed. A scramble occurs near the ropes and Uno gets to the mount position. He starts landing punches in the corner and gets to Laursen's back. Laursen is turtling and Uno continues to land small shots. The round ends will Uno controlling his opponent's back.
Uno gets the take down then passes the guard. He continues to work as Laursen is unable to improve his position. Uno gets the back and the choke. Your winner at 4:36 of round two by way of rear naked choke is Caol Uno.
Fun display of grappling skill by Caol Uno! He is very excited as he walks his way to the back. Laursen seems frustrated by his loss.
Where Are They Now: Caol Uno
Uno's first MMA fight happened in 1996. His most recent was a victory over Markus Held on November 24, 2019. A legend of the Japanese MMA scene he is currently 45 years old.
Where Are They Now: Ole Laursen
Laursen's last MMA fight was a KO win against Cheik Kone on January 24, 2017.
Yoshihiro Akiyama vs Katsuhiko Nagata
Next up we have a Hero's super fight. It appears to be wrestling vs judo in this bout. Akiyama is even wearing a gi! Nagata is the first to go for a take down while Akiyama looks more comfortable striking. The judoka goes for a spinning back kick and Nagata almost gets a take down. Akiyama's punches start landing now. Another spinning back kick and this time it lands. Your winner is Yoshihiro Akiyama by KO!
The fans are very happy about Akiyama's win! It seemed like he really wanted to hit that kick to the body and so he did.
Where Are They Now: Yoshihiro Akiyama
Akiyama would go on to grease himself up for a bout with MMA legend Kazushi Sakuraba which was later ruled a no contest due to his greasiness. Later on he would have a career with the UFC and ONE FC with his most recent bout happening on February 28, 2020.
Where Are They Now: Katsuhiko Nagata
Nagata was a silver metalist in greco-roman wrestling at the 2000 Olympic games. His most recent MMA bout came on December 3, 2011. He is also the brother of New Japan Pro Wrestling star Yuji Nagata.
Kazuyuki Miyata vs Norifumi Yamamoto
We are treated to a lengthy introduction to our main event, Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto versus Kazuyuki Miyata! Then our main event starts! Your winner is Norifumi Yamamoto at 0:04 of the first round by flying knee KO!
I'm not sure what to say other than that was an amazing knock out! Yamamoto gives a speech to the audience then goes to the back to celebrate.
Where Are They Now: Kazuyuki Miyata
I'm not sure if Rizin is still a promotion, but Miyata's last MMA bout was under their banner. It was a submission win over Erson Yamamoto (who is Norifumi Yamamoto's nephew).
Where Are They Now: Norifumi Yamamoto
A legend of Japanese MMA, Norifumi Yamamoto competed for promotions such as Shooto, K-1, Dream, and the UFC in his career. An outstanding amateur wrestler and MMA fighter who will not be forgotten. He passed away after a battle with stomach cancer on September 18, 2018 at age 45.
Final Thoughts on the Event
The DVD also included a few extras including a prelim bout where Kazuhiro Hamanaka defeated Yoichi Babaguchi by Kimura at 1:22 of round one. Other extras are the part where Sakuraba comes out, a press conference, and post fight interviews with the winners!
This card definitely felt like something K-1 would put on in 2006! It was an enjoyable watch and I'm slowly getting back into MMA after a year or two break. I wouldn't really recommend seeking out the whole card but Kid Yamamoto's main event win is worth seeing! Unfortunately, none of the entrances are available on the DVD presumably due to music rights issues. An overall enjoyable watch none the less!
This was day two of my 100 Days To Offload journey.
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